Our would-be president is a “world class liar” who lacks “the temperament, the judgment and the competence to lead,” with a style best described as “volcanic, impulsive . . . disdainful of the rules set for everyone else.”
Donald Trump wasn’t talking about himself.
He was attacking Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he expects to run against in November, giving the speech he promised to deliver earlier this month, but postponed after the attack in Orlando.
He also claimed Clinton’s campaign was all about her, while his was about “the people” – a tough sell from a Twitter-obsessed egomaniac.
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Trump’s Wednesday speech isn’t a game-changer. But it will reenergize deflated Trump lovers and let him argue, to paraphrase Mark Twain, that reports of his political death are greatly exaggerated.
For over a week, the press has focused on Trump’s anemic fund-raising, the ousting of his campaign manager, and the increasing discomfort of Republican leaders in the aftermath of his response to Orlando. But in his speech, Trump came back with at least the semblance of a coherent message about the stakes in November: Voters who want change can’t rely on the politicians who created the problems.
If he keeps that theme, he might be able to grow a coalition of the disaffected. He again reached out to constituencies not usually associated with the GOP, such as Bernie Sanders supporters, and urban America’s disadvantaged blacks and Latinos.
But Trump’s message is weighted down by hyperbolic attacks on Clinton, a woman he once said would make a “great president” and invited to his third wedding.
Now, he said that lobbyists, CEOs, and foreign governments “totally own her.” He charged that she supported trade deals that enriched her and former president Bill Clinton “at America’s expense.”
Trump not only blamed Hillary Clinton for the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya. He blamed her for destabilizing the Middle East, and causing the Islamic State’s rise – as if she were de facto president rather than a Cabinet secretary. When it comes to Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, Trump said, “She’s virtually done nothing right.”
This is all welcome fodder for Fox News and Clinton-haters everywhere. But it won’t change the minds of those who listen to Trump’s characterization of Clinton as a liar and fraud, and think – at the very least – it takes one to know one.
Trump ended his speech on a positive note. He will make America rich again and safe again. He will grow wages and jobs, bring back factories, rebuild America’s cities and infrastructure, and give hope to parents everywhere, including those in “our inner cities.”
He never said how. He was too busy hating on Hillary.